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US soldiers leave main base, ending 20 years of service in Afghanistan

All US forces withdrew from Bagram Airport in Afghanistan, ending nearly two decades of deployment to the largest US military base, the Afghan Defense Ministry said on Friday. BAGRAM AIR BASE, AFGHANISTAN – MAY 11: U.S. Army soldiers walk to their C-17 cargo plane for departure May 11, 2013 at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. U.S. soldiers and marines are part of the NATO troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, to be completed by the end of 2014.

The US military has used Bagram, a Soviet-built airstrip about 60 kilometers north of the Afghan capital, Kabul, as a base for its forces. The base has been used as a launch point for air attacks since coalition forces took over it in 2001.

In December 2001, New York City fire and police forces were brought in to level a part of the World Trade Center in Bagram, days after the Taliban were ousted for harboring Osama bin Laden. .

Fawad Aman, a spokesman for the Afghan Defense Ministry, tweeted: “All US and Coalition troops left Bagram Air Base last night,” adding that the base had been handed over to the National Guard. Department and National Security of Afghanistan. The withdrawal of forces from the base symbolizes the end of US military involvement in the country.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby later told reporters that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin approved the plan on Friday to hand over command of the Afghanistan mission from General Scott Miller, the top military commander. of the United States in the region, to General Frank McKenzie, commander of Central Command, later this month.

US President Joe Biden told reporters at the White House: “We’re on the right track, exactly as planned.”

Asked if the withdrawal would be completed within the next few days, Biden replied “no”.

Biden explained that the withdrawal of troops from Bagram at this time is to ensure that the US can be ready to withdraw all troops before the September deadline. “There will still be some forces. But it’s a logical withdrawal for our allies… So there’s nothing unusual about it,” he said.

The United States under the Trump administration and the Taliban agreed to a peace deal in February 2020 that included the withdrawal of American troops. In April this year, Mr. Biden continued this when he announced that 2,500 personnel stationed in Afghanistan would be withdrawn, with a deadline of September 11 – the 20th anniversary of the 11 terrorist attacks. /9. The event will mark the end of a campaign that saw 100,000 US troops deployed.

However, the US military will keep a small force in Afghanistan indefinitely, largely to ensure the security of the US Embassy in Kabul.

Meanwhile, the Taliban is continuing to attack and expand the territory it controls. Many people have been concerned that the withdrawal of US troops will make security in Afghanistan worse.

The United Nations special envoy to Afghanistan said last week that the Taliban had taken over more than 50 of the country’s 370 districts and were planning to take control of provincial capitals as the country grew increasingly unstable. In addition to its traditional strongholds to the south, the Taliban have gained control of areas such as Kunduz in the north, where it previously had no influence.

Turkey has offered to take over the security of Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the proposal to Mr. Biden at a recent meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Turkey is the only NATO member with a Muslim majority, and it has historical ties to Afghanistan. More than 500 Turkish troops are participating in the NATO mission in Afghanistan.

For Afghanistan, Kabul airport is an important gateway to the outside world. Without a clear gateway, it will be difficult for diplomats and aid workers to continue working at home.

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